Your Brand is About Emotion

your brand is entirely about evoking an emotional response...we buy from brands we like. In fact, if your brand invokes anything less than passion,

Read time: minutes

I know I’ve talked about it in the past, but it bears repeating, your brand is entirely about evoking an emotional response…we buy from brands we like.  In fact, if your brand invokes anything less than passion, you’re missing the mark and that means you’re missing opportunity. While I work with, and talk about, this aspect of brand everyday, I’m often surprised that this critical element is completely overlooked by seasoned marketers. A recent post on Brand Strategy Insider, articulates the difference brand emotion can make very well.

brand, emotional branding, passion, brand emotion
photo credit: muammerokumus

“Consumers care about what a brand represents to them on the highest emotional level. The physical properties and functional benefits that comprise and define a brand are of less importance–this explains the difference between Coke and Pepsi, Chevy and Toyota, Apple and the rest of its competitors.”

While functionally, there really is no difference between Coke and Pepsi, Chevy and Toyota, Apple and everyone, there are massive emotional divides. And I defy you to be ambivalent about which one you prefer.

Identifying Emotion Associated With a Brand is Big Business

Trying to identify the emotions that a brand evokes is big business. Millward Brown and Affectiva announced last month on PRWeb they can now add facial expression analysis to their copy testing solution.

“…brand owners can get at the emotional response that people might not be able to articulate in surveys,” said Graham Page, executive vice president of Millward Brown’s neuroscience practice. “By building this technology into our surveys, we can make non-verbal emotional measurement truly scalable and cost effective for the first time.”

This means that big brands have the ability now to measure real emotional response to brand messages and advertising campaigns, and this is critical, for brands that can pay the price, to be able to hit a home run on more advertisements with fewer “misses.”

What if Your Brand Can’t Pay Big Money for an Emotion Study?

So what about brands that can’t pay the significant study costs? They have to rely more upon the gut instinct of the marketing manager, the staff, and the community to tell them when they are on track — and when they are off track.

One thing we know for certain is that when a brand exists at the intersection of “love” and “respect”, they have a significantly higher probability of becoming a lovemark.) I’ve written previously about brand Lovemarks here, be sure to check out the Lovemark Profiler link there too!) As a marketer, positioning your brand in an appropriate manner to garner your community’s respect and passion is the best way to move into prosperous success.

Take the time to review the emotion behind your brand, and if you find it’s lacking take immediate steps to remedy that problem. If you need help, checkout the Brand Book Tutorial series, and specifically the post about Rubber Duckie’s Brand Manifesto, if we can write an emotionally resonate manifesto for Rubber Duckie — surely you can write one for your brand as well.


Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

Reader Interactions


  1. George says

    The psychological aspect in brand building can’t be overruled. The success of various campaigns that are cleverly designed towards grabbing user’s attention all depends on the impression it could create on people’s minds.

  2. Kate Brown Wilson says

    I think that brand attracts a lot of people ,but it depends upon the situation and emotion. like for example in online business before your site will sell you must think about the best brand you wish. like advertising.

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      You’re absolutely right Kate. I was talking with someone today, making that exact same point. Branding isn’t any good unless you know what your business plan is, and most specifically, what your target audience is. When you know those things — then branding can begin. But even then you can’t just dive in, you’ve got to plan and choose the right method to reach your target audience.

      • Kate Brown Wilson says

        So true Tisha, before anything else we should plan it first before starting it and showing it to our audience. for us not to have regrets about the plan we’re up to.

  3. lilly says

    I think that you make a good point but I would highlight that there is a big diffeence between an emotion and a reaction. Take a b2b workwear supplier for example, as this kind of brand what kind of an emotion would you want to trigger in people/

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      Ideally a sense of safety and security. It should inspire an understanding that the company takes my personal safety as an unwavering standard — I can count on the company. Trust.

      • lilly says

        Interesting, I think that some forms of media such as TV you could do that quite easily but more limited (time) adverts would leave you struggling to do this as its not something that can just be envoked with a banging soundtrack and some dancing!

        • Tisha Oehmen says

          Lilly, you’re right, that’s why we usually use a blend of media when building a full campaign. Often in a full campaign, you’ll see the television ad as the most complete version of the brand position, and all the other elements, radio, print, online, billboards, as extensions and reinforcements to that campaign.

  4. Chris says

    I was talking about this very subject last night and heard a story that I thought had a lot of application when doing market research. When Sony was doing a study for what color they should make boomboxes in, they asked a focus group to choose between yellow and black. The group decided that yellow would be the best choice but when they left they were given a choice between a yellow boombox and a black one for participating. Every single participant chose black. So if you can incorporate an action into your market research you too may find that “actions speak louder than words.” That’s what makes this ability to read non-verbals (if true) so exciting for survey responses. It gives another dimension of data that has been lacking in large scale projects.

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      Great example Chris — the other reality is that focus groups rarely know what they want until after the product is produced and on the shelves. In other words, the mp3 play, walkman, and even boombox never would have been produced if we relied entirely on the preliminary focus group to say they would buy it.

  5. Walter Martin says

    I absolutely LOVE this topic. I am just amazed at how some companies try to survive without making themselves a brand. I have done a few articles on this history or retail and it seems quite obvious that those that carved out a niche and brand are the ones that ended up making the most money in the long run (ie Lululemon and Ulta).

  6. Derek Kimball (DesignBuddy) says

    Some great points. Branding is very effective…in some industries more than others though. I still can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi…and considering how many people at restaurants say “I’ll have a Coke or Pepsi” seems to prove I’m not the only one. Yet when I go to the store, I typically purchase Coca Cola…not because of taste but because as a logo designer I like the Coke logo better than the Pepsi logo. I realize this when I’m purchasing, but if both are the same price, I have to make a choice. The packaging earns my business.

    • Tisha Oehmen says

      Thanks for stopping by Derek. You’re right – you’re making your choice about Coke or Pepsi entirely based on the Brand and that choice puts money in the company’s pockets.

Leave a Reply

If you liked this, you might like...